Christchurch gunman given life term without parole

Christchurch gunman given life term without parole
The victims of the Christchurch massacre
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: A New Zealand court has sentenced Brenton Tarrant, who shot dead 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch to life in prison without parole, the first person in the country’s history to receive this sentence.

Mr Tarrant, an Australian, had earlier pleaded guilty to the murder of 51 people, attempted murder of another 40 people and one charge of terrorism.

The judge called Tarrant’s actions “inhuman”, adding that he had “showed no mercy”.

The gunman livestreamed part of the attack that shocked the world, which took place in March last year.

Judge Cameron Mander in a Christchurch court on Thursday said: “Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment.”

Justice Mander said on imposing a sentence of life without parole: “If not here, then when?”

Tarrant said through a lawyer in court that he did not oppose the prosecution’s application for a life without parole sentence. He had earlier also refused the right to speak at his sentencing.

New Zealand brought in stricter gun laws in the wake of the killings.

What happened during the sentencing?

The sentencing hearing in the court lasted four days and more than 60 victim impact statements were heard.

Tarrant was surrounded by police officers as he sat in the dock during the sentencing. Source: EPA

Koranic verses were read out and photos of loved ones were shown to the court on the last day of statements.

Maysoon Salama, a mother whose son died in the attack, said Tarrant “terrorised the whole of New Zealand and saddened the world”.

Sara Qasem, whose father Abdelfattah Qasem died at the Al Noor Mosque, one of the two mosques attacked by the gunmen, said he was a “shining glimmering man”.

She spoke about the last moments of her father’s life, saying: “I wonder if he was in pain, if he was frightened, and what his final thoughts were. And I wish more than anything in the world that I could have been there to hold his hand and tell him it would all be OK. But I couldn’t do that.”

Mr Tarrant chose not to speak in court before Thursday’s sentencing.

On 15 March last year, the gunman opened fire on two mosques in the city. He first targeted worshippers inside the Al Noor mosque. Less than 30 seconds later, he returned to his car to pick up another weapon and then re-entered the mosque and resumed firing on those inside.

The entire incident was broadcast on Facebook Live via a headcam he was wearing and the world was in heavy shock discovering it.

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